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By Lanier Lobdell
(Editor's note: Lanier Lobdell is a 55-year-old woman with rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. She and a friend, Flaxen, are riding their motorcycles across the country from Oregon to Maine and back as part of the Going the Extra Mile Tour to raise awareness about RA. They are stopping along the way to meet with local Arthritis Foundation (AF) chapters and people in the communities who are affected by all forms of arthritis. Here is her latest post from the tour. Read her first post)
Well, we have been on the road for six days now, and it has been fabulous! I had one bad body night-could not sleep and then my wrists were hurting the next day. This was an example of when I fight and don't let my RA win. I'm very, very thankful I can ride because riding keeps my endorphins happy and that keeps me going, which in turn keeps me happy!
We have been pretty lucky with the weather-one day of severe rain and winds, which held us up a day, but no worries-we made it to the Wisconsin Arthritis Foundation Chapter event on July 15 and that was absolutely wonderful and fun. I totally enjoyed everyone there. We all had lunch together and talked. It was relaxed and not stressful. People would ask questions, and we just had a great conversation-very wonderful people and doing very important work for all of us.
After lunch we went out to our motorcycles and took pictures, which you can view at www.facebook.com/extramiletour. After the gathering, we took the rest of day off from riding and headed south to Lake Geneva to stay the night. Beautiful place!
The next day we head south and east to get to the Appalachian Mountains to go up to Philly, where we'll be on July 22 for two events: one with the Arthritis Foundation and another with the folks who make my biologic medicine. This is really great for them to meet someone they have helped and changed a life. We have plenty of time, so we will be able to take our time and see things-very excited about that.
The people we have met along the way have been incredibly supportive of what we are doing. They come up to us at gas stations and in hotels and want to know what the Extra Mile Tour is about. We've found that everyone has heard of or knows someone with RA or some other autoimmune disease.
We are definitely spreading the message, which is: Don't give up! Talk to your doctor and be your own advocate. If your meds are not working for you, don't suffer; try something else. There are so many more options now. Keep moving and get support when you need it.
Thanks for reading, Lanier and Flaxen